Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Walking Away from the Media Madness

On February 1st of this year, the satellite TV service was disconnected at our request. My father and I had found the multitude of channels to have steadily eroded in quality, finally crossing that line of not being worth paying for. Even the theoretically high brow channels of the past, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, and The Learning Channel had all turned into the rare poorly researched documentary sandwiched between a cacophony of so-called reality shows. Though we were sacrificing a small handful of drama's we enjoyed, the decision was made to double our Internet DSL speed and still save money in the process. After all, we were getting our news from off of the Net more than from the shallow talking heads on TV. So how has it worked out in the intervening months?

I love not having the television set on all the time as background noise. Truly a blissful silence is a welcome thing. After several months, we did hook up the antenna on the roof, after experimenting with a Gray-Hoverlock antenna built from scratch (didn't see a difference, but we haven't gone digital yet) we do have local ABC, PBS, and Fox. Local news can be picked up, but I find it to be less than shallow and have stepped into mud puddles with more depth. That is the nature of the industry and reflects a national trend, I'm afraid. So we aren't completely without TV, just don't have much we want to watch.

So do I miss the satellite service? No. I thought I'd suffer withdrawal and instead have experienced relief - no longer do I end up muttering at documentaries that have the facts and events wrong, which I consider a torment for a history buff. The shouting talking heads and sound bite reporting were a nuisance at best, no matter if I agreed with them or not. Impossible to miss it.

We live in a culture of mass distraction and I am enjoying having less distractions. It is one of those roads once taken that one can't go back from, I'm finding. Watching TV at a waiting room is now painful, now that I've been away from the din, I see even more clearly what dreck modern broadcasting has become.